by Robert E. Clift, Inspector General
In contrast to all the good ethics Galen Erso demonstrates in considering the impact his actions will have on humanity, the Galactic Empire ignores the consequences of their actions.
OK, great, I got you this far! Now let’s talk about doing the right thing as taught by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I’ve paraphrased the below from an article written by Fermeen Fazal, as published by the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics.
Research scientist Galen Erso decided he does not want to complete the design of the Death Star because he has concluded it was wrong to begin creating a weapon of mass destruction. We should always encourage coworkers to speak up and come forward when they’ve made an error or see something wrong without fear of retaliation.
But Erso, while acting with integrity in refusing to complete the plans, does not have that luxury. He is forced to live in isolation as a farmer to protect his family after he makes this choice.
Erso cannot hide for long. Imperial Director Orson Krennic of the Galactic Empire forces Erso to return to an Imperial base to complete the Death Star design. The pressure is great, and when Erso attempts to resist, Krennic shoots Erso’s wife and insists he complete the Death Star design. Placing pressure on an employee to take an unethical action is a classic example of how leadership can increase the risk of misconducts.
Fifteen years later, we learn that Erso has still been trying to do the right thing. He actually compromises the Death Star’s design by placing a vulnerability in its reactor that can be used to destroy it, and tells his daughter where the structural plans are stored. If she can steal them, the Rebels can destroy the Death Star before it is used for destruction.
In contrast to all the good ethics Erso demonstrates in considering the impact his actions will have on humanity, Imperial Governor Tarkin ignores the consequences of his actions. When he is unsure of the quality of the Death Star’s construction management, he and Director Krennic destroy Jedha. The two remain nonplussed about the killing of innocent people. Unlike Tarkin and Krennic, we should always encourage employees to think about the impact their decisions will have. Carefully weighing consequences before making a difficult choice is a prudent course of action.